Thanks to O'Reilly Radar, I just read a snippet of a post about one of my phobias: law.

...the hoary distinction in jurisprudence between "rules" and "principles."

A first approximation for the non-lawyers here: the tax code is full of
RULES: Take this number, divide it by that number, place the result on
line 17 if it's greater than $57,206 and on line 19 if it's less. Etc.
RULES are intended to direct or forbid very specific behaviors.

PRINCIPLES, on the other hand, are more general.  When driving you are
required to use "reasonable care." If you don't, then you are negligent
and can be held liable, in a tort case, for the damages you cause. And
though there are plenty of rules about driving, tort liability is based
on the PRINCIPLE of reasonable care, and is assessed on a case-by-case

...An excellent point, of which I was not aware.

I hate--and have a deep-seated fear of--rules.

I appreciate principles.

IMHO, all rules must have an underlying principle. In fact, I would prefer that rules, as such were nothing more than guidelines for principles.

Food for thought.

No comments: